Film Council names franchises

Seven partnerships to share $14.5 mil development coin

LONDON — The U.K. Film Council has announced seven winners from the 28 bidders who applied for its new three-year development franchises.

The victorious partnerships are headed by Capitol Films, Darlow Smithson Prods., Ealing Studios, Recorded Picture Co. and Little Bird, Number 9 Films, Pathe Pictures and producer Alison Owen.

The seven groups also includes many of the U.K.’s leading producers, distributors and sales companies, along with a number of foreign co-producers.

“These partnerships reflect a cross-section of some of the U.K.’s most important filmmakers and industry heavyweights,” said Jenny Borgars, head of the UKFC’s Development Fund. “It’s vital that the U.K. Film Council supports the development of a wide range of projects from the independent sector.”

They will receive a total of £7.5 million ($14.5 million) from the Film Council over three years. Each group has guaranteed to match that investment with an equal sum from its own partners, marking a significant injection of new development coin into the U.K. production sector.

The Film Council hopes to encourage a more pragmatic, market-driven approach to development by engineering stronger links between producers, distributors and other financiers.

Among the rejected applicants were groups backed by U.S. distribs Focus Features and Newmarket, Tony and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free, and sales company Summit Entertainment.

The winning groups are required to spend at least 30% of their development funds on projects from outside producers.

The chosen seven are:

  • Sales company Capitol Films, awarded $770,000 a year, partnered with L.A.-based Ascendant Films. Umbrella deals with Tiger Aspect Pictures, Samuelson Prods., Feel Films, Ireland’s Element Films and Cuba Pictures, plus links with BBC Films and FilmFour.

  • Documentary specialist Darlow Smithson, producer of “Touching the Void,” awarded $480,000 a year. Partners include Pathe Pictures, FilmFour and Channel 4, with additional links to IFC in the U.S. and the Tricyle Theater in London.

  • Ealing Studios and its production arm Fragile Films, in partnership with Icon Entertainment, awarded $770,000 a year.

  • A joint venture between Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co. and Jonathan Cavendish’s Little Bird Films, awarded $770,000. Key partners are RPC’s sales arm HanWay Films and FilmFour. Umbrella deals with producers Passion Pictures, Company Films and Home Movies.

  • Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley’s production company Number 9 Films, awarded $770,000 a year. Partners include FilmFour, sales outfit Intandem, the Irish Film Board and distrib Tartan Films. Links with Irish producer Alan Maloney, Christine Vachon’s Killer Films in New York, and Brit filmmakers Nick Brown and Asif Kapadia.

  • French-owned distrib and sales company Pathe Pictures, awarded $675,000. Umbrella deals with production companies Blueprint, Forward Films and Glasshouse Films.

  • The newly-formed production shingle of Alison Owen, Aimee Peyronnet and former DreamWork exec Paul Lister, awarded $580,000. Backed by distrib Momentum Pictures and BBC Films, with equity investment from Ingenious Media. Also partnered with Irish producer Octagon Films.
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